STC views complaints as an opportunity to learn and improve for the future, as well as a chance to put things right for the person or organisation that has made the complaint. Our policy is:
• To provide a fair complaints procedure which is clear and easy to use for anyone wishing to make a complaint
• To publicise the existence of our complaints procedure so that people know how to contact us to make a complaint
• To make sure everyone at StC knows what to do if a complaint is received
• To make sure all complaints are investigated fairly and in a timely way
• To make sure that complaints are, wherever possible, resolved and that relationships are repaired
• To gather information which helps us to improve what we do
Definition of a Complaint A complaint is any expression of dissatisfaction, whether justified or not, about any aspect of STC.
Where Complaints Come From Complaints may come from any person or organisation that has a legitimate interest in StC. A complaint can be received verbally, by phone, by email or in writing. This policy does not cover complaints from a member of staff, who should use StC’s Discipline and Grievance policies.
Confidentiality All complaint information will be handled sensitively, telling only those who need to know and following any relevant data protection requirements.
Responsibility Overall responsibility for this policy and its implementation lies with the directors of STC.
Review This policy is reviewed regularly and updated as required. Adopted on 01/01/2015 Last reviewed on 27/11/2015.
Contact Details for Complaints: Written complaints may be sent to STC at Unit 97 C&D Harvey Drive, John Wilson Estate, Whitstable, Kent CT5 3QT or by e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org. Verbal complaints may be made by phone to 01227 361 960 or in person to any of STC’s staff.
Receiving Complaints Complaints may arrive through channels publicised for that purpose or through any other contact details or opportunities the complainant may have. Complaints received by telephone or in person will be recorded. The person who receives a phone or in-person complaint will:
• Write down the facts of the complaint
• Take the complainant’s name, address and telephone number
• Note down the relationship of the complainant to STC (for example: charity, employer)
• Advise the complainant that we have a complaints procedure
• Advise the complainant what will happen next and how long it will take
• Where appropriate, ask the complainant to send a written account by post or by email so that the complaint is recorded in the complainant’s own words.
In many cases, a complaint is best resolved by the person responsible for the issue being complained about. If the complaint has been received by that person, they may be able to resolve it swiftly and should do so if possible and appropriate. Whether or not the complaint has been resolved, the complaint information should be passed to a director within 24 hours. On receiving the complaint, the person who complaints go to will record it in the complaints log. If it has not already been resolved, they delegate an appropriate person to investigate it and to take appropriate action.
If the complaint relates to a specific person, they should be informed and given a fair opportunity to respond. Complaints should be acknowledged by the person handling the complaint within two working days. The acknowledgement should say who is dealing with the complaint and when the person complaining can expect a reply. A copy of this complaints procedure should be attached.
Ideally, complainants would receive a definitive reply within two weeks. If this is not possible because for example, an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report will be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given. Whether the complaint is justified or not, the reply to the complainant would describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint.
If the complainant feels that the problem has not been satisfactorily resolved, they can request that the complaint is reviewed at Board level. At this stage, the complaint will be passed to the Managing Director. The request for Board level review will be acknowledged within one week of receiving it. The acknowledgement will say who will deal with the case and when the complainant can expect a reply.
If an investigation has not been fully completed, a progress report will be sent with an indication of when a full reply will be given. Whether the complaint is upheld or not, the reply to the complainant will describe the action taken to investigate the complaint, the conclusions from the investigation, and any action taken as a result of the complaint. The decision taken at this stage is final, unless the Board decides it is appropriate to seek external assistance with resolution. At this point the complaint may be escalated to the APGO for resolution. See www.apgo.org.u